Mukesh and Anil, India’s billionaire Ambani brothers, have been at each other’s throats for years. They spilt the family business in 2005 and have feuded ever since.
Now, quite suddenly, Mukesh has agreed to use his younger brother’s fibre optic network for the launch of a new broadband telecoms venture. The initial contract is worth 1,200 crore rupees, which translates into about $220m. Read more
Mukesh Ambani, India’s wealthiest man, is set to sign a deal with Walt Disney’s Indian subsidiary that will provide his Reliance Industries with the content for its next generation of mobile telecoms, the FT says, citing people close to the matter. The deal, expected to be sealed in the coming weeks, is between Reliance and UTV, one of Bollywood’s largest entertainment groups, which Disney controls with a 50.44 per cent stake and is in the process of buying fully. It is the first concrete move by the billionaire’s group since it acquired Infotel, the only company to have won a national allocation of fourth-generation spectrum in an auction. It will be the latest in a series of joint ventures signed by India’s largest private sector group.
Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man and a powerful industrialist, has challenged the government of Manmohan Singh, prime minister, to be far bolder in its approach to building India into a leading economy and world power. Mr Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, warned on Tuesday of a two-speed India whose divisions could not be addressed by “meaningless” small reforms and a lack of a grand vision among the country’s leadership. He called for an urgent return to “disruptive policies” – such as the 1991 financial reforms that Mr Singh masterminded – to take full advantage of India’s economic potential and to remove “the shackles and free up Indian minds”. In an outspoken address to the nation’s top business leaders he said: “India needs a bold new vision and a feasible action plan”.
BP is to make a $7.2bn thrust into India by taking 30 per cent stakes in vast but difficult natural gas blocks controlled by Mukesh Ambani, the country’s richest tycoon, reports the FT. The deal with Reliance Industries, potentially worth up to $20bn and subject to government approval, comes on the heels of a $16bn share swap with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, and marks the latest stage of BP’s recovery since last year’s Gulf of Mexico disaster.
The peace deal announced by India’s warring brothers, Mukesh and Anil Ambani, sent their companies’ stock prices soaring on Monday. The end of their five-year feud will free up the siblings to pursue plans for big projects in oil and gas, telecoms, power generation and retail in India and overseas, according to the FT.
At a mere $550m-$600m, the latest cross-border deal by an Indian company is small compared to the $14.5bn that Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries was prepared to pay for Dutch chemicals maker LyondellBasell and the $10.5bn that Bharti Airtel is stumping up for the African telecoms operations of Kuwaiti company Zain.
But the agreement by Essar Group, one of India’s biggest conglomerates, to buy Trinity Coal of the US for $550m-$600m sets the seal on a revived – and increasingly powerful – push by India’s industrial leaders to ramp up global acquisitions. Read more
India’s Reliance Industries has no plans to increase its bid for bankrupt Dutch chemicals maker LyondellBasell Industries after creditors rejected a $14.5bn offer, reports Bloomberg. Market conditions did not justify raising the offer further, said people close to the matter. One analyst said Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani might consider spending his group’s $3.5bn of cash elsewhere.
The board of bankrupt LyondellBasell Industries has rejected a $14.5bn bid from Reliance Industries, the Indian oil refiner and explorer controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, reports Bloomberg. Ambani was up against creditors including Apollo Management, which had backed an earlier reorganisation plan that would have given it an equity stake in the Dutch chemical maker. Lyondell had earlier rejected a revised Reliance bid valuing it at $13.5bn.
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Billionaire investor Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group, and present and former executives of Bear Stearns, IBM, Intel and McKinsey were charged on Friday in an alleged insider trading scheme. Read more
South Africa’s MTN is considering walking away from a tie-up with Reliance Communications of India because of fears an acrimonious spat between the Indian telecom operator’s owner and his brother could leave the deal open to legal action. A person familiar with the talks on Sunday said he expected MTN and Reliance to extend their exclusive talks for another two to three weeks after a 45-day period expires on Tuesday. However, there is no indication that extra time alone would be sufficient to resolve the feud.
Indian cricket has taken the first big step towards the wholesale privatisation of the game in the model of English football or American baseball, with the sale of eight new team franchises to several of the nation’s biggest tycoons. India’s cricket authority, BCCI, sold eight teams for its new Twenty20 competition to leading figures such as billionaire Mukesh Ambani and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, for a total of about $724m – an enormous sum for a new league that is as yet untried. Cricket is the most popular sport in the subcontinent and has become a huge money-spinner in India. The country’s cable TV channels compete fiercely for broadcast rights while advertisers and sponsors depend on players to sell everything from insurance to soft drinks. Rights to the Mumbai team were sold to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries for $111.9m, Calcutta to Khan for $75m and Bangalore to liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s UB Group for $111.6m.